Project at Nash Lofts building
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the completion of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) Buffalo headquarters in the Nash Lofts, a newly renovated building located in Buffalo's Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. The office space is being provided rent-free by the developer, along with free parking for visitors to the corridor.
Nash Lofts, a $6 million restoration project, is a 40,000-square-foot, mixed-use building that will include 18 new apartments, commercial space, parking and a restaurant. The project functions as a gateway into the Michigan Street African American Corridor, which is a nationally – and internationally – recognized neighborhood that serves as the focal point for residents and visitors interested in learning about Buffalo's history through its historic community, shops, restaurants, architecture, people and institutions.
"I am proud to welcome the NAACP to its new home in Buffalo's Michigan Street African American Corridor," Hochul said. "The restoration of the Nash Lofts is a key step in strengthening this historic neighborhood and will make the perfect home for the NAACP as it continues to fight for equality, justice and a better future for us all."
Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin said, "I am ecstatic about the NAACP finding its new headquarters in this already historic neighborhood. Now more than ever, it is important we provide unhindered access to resources groups like the NAACP provide for our marginalized communities. I look forward to seeing the NAACP continue to add to Buffalo's development and culture."
A press release stated, “For more than a century the NAACP has worked to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of all people and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Recent incidents of police brutality, the fight against COVID-19, and voter suppression have driven the NAACP to disrupt inequality, dismantle racism, and accelerate change in key areas including criminal justice, health care, education, climate and the economy.”
NAACP Buffalo branch President the Rev. Mark Blue said, "The NAACP appreciates the opportunity to have its offices located in the Nash Lofts. These renovated historic buildings will remind us of the past but will also allow us to celebrate the future of the vibrant African American Heritage Corridor. We thank Gov. Hochul, Mayor Brown and all the state and local official who made the NAACP's move to its new headquarters possible."
Hochul’s team said, “The historic significance of the buildings at 163-167 Broadway and 64 Nash (circa 1820s and 1880s) remain a powerful reminder of New York's vast and influential history. Located in the heart of Buffalo in the Ellicott District just east of the downtown core, the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor is a rich and culturally noteworthy place for both the African American community and the greater Buffalo-Niagara region.”
The project restores four buildings that have been vacant for more than 15 years. It includes 18 units of mixed income apartments; a full-service minority- and women-owned restaurant and cultural space; rentable commercial space, including space specifically designated for minority- and women-owned businesses; and representative tenants of the community.
Hochul’s team said, “The entire project will encourage job creation and business investment in an area that has seen significant decline in investment for more than 50 years.”
Steven Carmina, managing member of Michigan Broadway LLC, said, "On behalf of the entire Michigan Broadway LLC ownership group, I want to thank Gov. Kathy Hochul, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, Majority Leader Crystal Peoples Stokes, Sen. Tim Kennedy, Congressman Brian Higgins, Mayor Byron Brown, and Council President Darius Pridgen for believing in this project since 2015. This has been a labor of love for our ownership group and we are thrilled to be here today previewing the first ten apartments and the new home of the NAACP. This project would not have been possible without the over $1 million in grants from Empire State Development. We look forward to begin renting units, starting Dec. 1, to the workforce of our city."
Funding for the Nash Lofts includes a $610,000 capital grant from ESD's East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund, $450,000 capital grant from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, a $750,000 bridge loan from the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., and approximately $1.7 million in Historic Tax Credits from New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The project also received a sales tax and mortgage tax exemption through the ECIDA.
ESD Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis, said, "We celebrate the opening of the NAACP offices in the Nash Lofts, a building that serves as an important anchor for Buffalo's Michigan Avenue African American Heritage Corridor – a tourism destination and meeting place for those who want to experience the city's rich African American history."
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The historic tax credits that helped support this project reflect a key mission of parks to protect and preserve the state's historic legacy. Here in the Buffalo Region since the tax credit program was expanded in 2010, use of credits has attracted more than $1 billion in private investment in the city's historic resources. In recent years, the benefits of such credits has spread from the downtown core to smaller projects on its East Side. Such credits can play a continued role to support ongoing development along and near the Michigan Avenue corridor that represents the past, present and future of the city's African American community."
The Nash Lofts project is one of many projects contributing to the revitalization of Buffalo's East Side. New York State's East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund is providing funding totaling $50 million to invest in the four main commercial corridors of Buffalo's East Side: Michigan, Jefferson, Fillmore and Bailey avenues. Funding will help to revive traditional main streets and commercial corridors through preserving historic buildings and fostering mixed-use private investment; funding capital improvements in neighborhood assets; expanding commercial opportunities and encouraging and enhancing walkability; and improvements to infrastructure in these neighborhoods. The fund compliments previous investments on the East Side of $10 million for the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative and $5 million for the Buffalo Central Terminal, for a total of $65 million in investments since 2017. Find more details on these investments in the East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund Booklet here.
Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission Executive Director Terry Alford said, "We are very excited and pleased that our local NAACP is moving back into our Heritage Corridor. This is especially important to us because the NAACP's new office is steps away from where national social justice champion Mary Talbert's home once stood. It butted right against the Michigan Street Baptist Church, one of the last stations of the Underground Railroad and is where, in 1905, prominent African American civil rights intellectuals, including iconic figures like W.E.B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter, along with the longest serving pastor of the church, Rev. J. Edward Nash, founded the Niagara Movement – the precursor to the NAACP. We feel they have come back home."
New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy said, "Under the outstanding leadership of Rev. Mark Blue, the NAACP Buffalo branch has continued to break down barriers of injustice and bridge the gaps in racial and social equality that persist throughout our community. This new headquarters, fittingly situated within the historic Michigan Street African American Corridor, will further fuel their mission to build a stronger, more inclusive future, while honoring the history and legacy of Buffalo's African American community."
Majority Assembly Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "It gives me great honor to welcome the NAACP to its new Buffalo headquarters in the city's African American Heritage Corridor. The construction completion of the $6 million mixed-use housing development restoration project at the Nash Loft Building serves as a shining example of great use of local and state resources to help revitalize our community by providing affordable housing to residents and commercial space and opportunities for minority and women entrepreneurs. I applaud New York Office of Parks, Michigan Broadway LLC and all the other community stakeholders whose leadership contributed to making this project a reality."
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "The completion of the new offices for the Buffalo chapter of the NAACP is another major step forward for the revitalization of the historic African American Heritage Corridor. The NAACP's new home at the Nash Lofts reconnects this site's past as a critical location for the Underground Railroad and Civil Rights Movement. I thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for Empire State Development's continuing commitment to Buffalo's east side and this historic corridor."
City of Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen said "The NAACP is coming home to the African American Heritage Corridor. We welcome them as the entire City of Buffalo works to make this an area where we can remember our African American history, celebrate our music and culture, and gather as a community to support and nurture each other – creating a brighter future."
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "The NAACP's new space in the Nash Lofts is another welcome sign of the resurgence of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor and the new energy that is invigorating Buffalo's East Side. Housed in historic and beautifully restored buildings at Broadway and Nash, the new headquarters and the related spaces in the $6 million Nash Lofts restoration project add vitality to the neighborhood with a vision for the future."
More information of the Buffalo NAACP can be found here.
More information on Nash Lofts can be found here.